February 2009


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Chiropractic Helping More Children

An article in USA Today on January 19, 2009 talks about the fact that more children are using chiropractic. On February 07, 2009 a release by the  American Chiropractic Association (ACA) adds more information on the benefits of chiropractic for children. And on December 14, 2008 the International Chiropractors Association Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics completed their International Conference on Chiropractic & Pediatrics held in the Grand Bahamas. The focus of these articles and event was children's health benefits through chiropractic care.

The USA today article starts off by featuring the story of a 3 month old boy, Mac, who was having  difficulty with nursing because he could only turn his head and neck to one side. Mac's mother, Melanie Booth, brought her son to a chiropractor, and explained the events of that first visit as her son got his first chiropractic adjustment, "he began to quiver and shake, and it kind of scared my husband and me," Booth says. "But she explained (she) was releasing energy that was stored up incorrectly in his body and particularly his spine. And almost immediately, we saw a change in his ability to move his neck."

The USA article noted that in 2007, about 3% of children in the USA were treated with chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation.  The American Chiropractic Association noted in their release that Survey data indicates that the percentage of chiropractic patients under 17 years of age has increased at least 8.5 percent since 1991.

Elise Hewitt, DC, a Portland-area doctor of chiropractic and president of the American Chiropractic Association’s Pediatrics Council, noted, "The vast majority of parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and look forward to subsequent visits. They also report that their children experience a greater level of health while under regular chiropractic care.”

Dr. Jeanne Ohm, a chiropractor in Media, Pa., and executive coordinator of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, noted that most children come to a chiropractor based upon someone referring the child's parents to the chiropractor.  Parents "are usually referred by someone whose asthma went away or whose ear infections went away," she says. In the USA Today article Dr. Ohm noted that chiropractic does not directly treat the illnesses, but rather sets up the circumstance to allow the body to heal itself, "Taking stress and tension off the nervous system affects their whole physical body and their mental state. We look at the whole person".


Gardasil Linked to Serious Reactions According to New Report

A series of news reports are warning about the serious side effects of the vaccine Gardasil. One such story aired on February 7, 2009 on the CBS Evening News. This story chronicles one specific case of injury to a teenage girl, Gabby Swank, who was a straight-A student and cheerleader.  However, after receiving the standard dose of three Gardasil vaccinations she progressively got sicker, suffered seizures, strokes and heart problems. Her neurologist made the diagnosis connection to Gardasil. The CBS video of this story can be seen here

In the CBS story, Gabby stated, "It was like a big hype among my friends, because we're like, 'we're gonna get it' because we felt almost pressured by the commercials." Neurologist, Dr. Dwight Lindholm commented on what he is seeing by saying, "I think there are too many people having serious long-term side-effects." Gabby's mom, Shannon Swank said, "I struggle with guilt a lot, because I made the choice to get the shot for her."

In addition to the story of Gabby, the CBS story also interviewed Emily Tarsell whose daughter died after having her third Gardasil shot.  She said that she was totally unaware of any dangers from the shot. "If I'd have known, we never would have gotten the shot." She continued by saying that if she had not gotten the shot, her daughter would still be here, "And she'd be here to hug."

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a private vaccine-safety group, released a report comparing Gardasil's adverse events to another vaccine given to young people for meningitis. The results of the report showed that during the study time frame, reactions from Gardasil required twice the number of emergency room visits, more than 5,000, as compared to the meningitis vaccine. Additionally, the reports of side effects were up to 30 times higher with Gardasil, when compared to  the meningitis vaccine.  Gardasil was also associated with 4 times more Death reports; 5 times more “Did Not Recover” reports; and 7 times more “Disabled” reports. The full NVIC report can be downloaded here.

Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder of the NVIC, said, "Now we know from this report that there are more reactions and deaths associated with Gardasil than with another vaccine given in the same age group. It's irresponsible not to take action." In a release by NVIC, Barbara Loe Fisher exposed the weakness of the original safety studies by the manufacturer by saying, "Merck only studied the vaccine in fewer than 1200 girls under age 16 and most of the serious health problems and deaths in the pre-licensure clinical trials were written off as a 'coincidence. If the new Administration and Congress want to make government recommended health care safer, more effective and less expensive, a good place to start is by looking into the human and economic costs of Gardasil vaccine.”

The National Vaccine Information Center  is petitioning President Barack Obama and Congress on behalf of families to investigate Gardasil vaccine deaths and serious injuries. They have started an online petition that consumers can go to and add their names to request a further investigation. The petition can be found here.


Chiropractic Care Helps Failed Back Surgery - A Case Study

A case study published in the January 10, 2009 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research documented the recovery of a 58 year old man who was suffering from low back pain and left lateral leg pain and had lower back surgery that was unsuccessful in helping his problems.

The study starts off by noting that approximately 80% of adults will have low back pain at some time in their lives. The authors of the case study point out that, "Back pain is treated by surgical means and non surgical means and literature has shown that many low back surgeries are not successful."

In this particular case a 58 year old man was reaching out for an item at work when he felt a "pop" in his back that resulted in pain radiating down the back of the right thigh and into the leg. He initially tried chiropractic care for an unspecified time with little initial results but then he elected to have spinal surgery, where he had a laminectomy of L5/S1. After his surgery the pain was worse and more extensive. This problem left him disabled and unable to return to work. His condition remained for 3 years before seeking chiropractic care for a second time.

A chiropractic examination and x-rays were performed and a diagnosis of "lumbar and pelvic segmental dysfunction (subluxation) with associated left lateral leg pain." A regimen of specific chiropractic adjustments was initiated to correct the subluxations.

After about 5 weeks of chiropractic adjustments, the patient reported that his left leg pain had diminished significantly and the low back pain had diminished but was present more than the leg pain. This was an improvement as in the initial stages of care, the man reported that his leg pain was worse than the low back pain. After a total of 32 visits, the man reported that he had no leg pain and only complained of mild low back pain on one visit. He reported feeling much better since beginning chiropractic care and that chiropractic care had made a big difference in his life.

In the conclusion, the author stated, "Literature has shown that failed back surgery syndrome is a common problem, and that more patients are seeking chiropractic care for the solution to such a devastating condition. Chiropractic care can improve function and quality of life as it did in this patient."


Don't Let A Hospital Make You Sick

The above headline comes from a February 08, 2009 article in Parade magazine. The article highlights a study by the US Institute of Medicine that showed that nearly 98,000 Americans die each year due to medical errors. The article makes the point that patients are safer by leaving the hospital sooner rather than later.

In what could be called a significant understatement, Joe McCannon, vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, responded by saying, "It is a very serious problem." Estimates for the costs of the hospital errors range up to $29 billion dollars or more per year.

The article noted several more common problems. They noted that about 1300 times a year, surgeons operate on the wrong person or remove the wrong limb or organ. Additionally doctors leave surgical instruments inside the body once in every 5000 surgeries. A 2007 article in the Annals of Surgery stated that operating on the wrong body part may occur as often as once per year in a 300-bed hospital. Perhaps the most chilling statistic noted in the article is that  in the US, adverse drug events cause one out of five injuries or deaths to hospital patients.

The article has some common sense suggestions for consumers who are going into a hospital for surgery. One suggestion is to ask the surgeon to mark the surgical site with a pen in front of you, while you are still awake.

Medicare has recognized the problem that hospital mistakes have caused by issuing a new policy, that many would have thought was already in effect.  As of October 2008 Medicare will no longer pay for medical bills from hospitals for mistakes they called "reasonably preventable". Additionally, hospitals are not allowed to charge the patients for the bills incurred for these mistakes.


Chiropractic Helping Professional Dancers

An article from the news website the AZcentral.com from Arizona on Feb. 5, 2009 reported on chiropractic care helping professional ballet dancers. This article also follows the history of a former dancer, Paul Frame, who was so impressed with chiropractic care that he became a chiropractor himself.

From 1979 to 1988, Paul Frame was a member of the New York City Ballet. "It was in Balanchine's last days," he says. "It was wonderful to be part of it; I was blessed."  Frames career was very promising as New York Times dance critic Jennifer Dunning wrote in 1987 that Frame danced with "special radiance."

Eventually Frame was forced to retire from dancing due to nagging back pains. As he described it, "You get a feeling when it's your time. My body shouted it to me."

Several years after his retirement, Frame decided to go to chiropractic school as he recalled how chiropractic had helped him while he was dancing, "As a dancer, chiropractic helped me immensely." He decided to attend school at the New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, N.Y.  Not being a big fan of cold weather he described the area as, "It was one of the bleakest places known to man."  Immediately after his graduation, he moved to Phoenix for the climate. He stated, "I saw the sky, the sun and the moon. It was very calming for me."

Now Dr. Paul Frame brings his expertise in dancing to his chiropractic care for the dance world. He notes, "Being a past dancer, I know what they are going through," he says. "I know the mind-set of a dancer, I understand the vocabulary."

Sasha Edelman, a dancer who is featured in the article and under the care of Dr. Frame explains that she gets regular chiropractic care, "I don't come every week," Edelman says. "But every other week or so, it releases everything if it feels stuck. You move better after and you really feel a difference."


Deaths From Overdose of Painkillers Rose 83% From 1999 to 2005

Several articles appearing on February 9, 2009 reported that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued letters to companies that make opioid drugs, including morphine, oxycodone and methadone, requiring them to develop plans to reduce the misuse of their painkillers.  These drugs include such commonly used drugs like OxyContin, fentanyl patches, methadone tablets and some morphine tablets. According to the articles these drugs are highly addictive and meant for usage in cases requiring round-the-clock pain management for patients with cancer and other serious chronic conditions.

One article in the New York Times noted that in an effort to reduce deaths and injuries from the improper use of these drugs, many doctors may not be allowed to prescribe them. According to an American Medical News article deaths from accidental overdose of these drugs among people age 15-64 has increased 83% from 1999 to 2005.

In the AMA news article, Scott Fishman, MD, past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine stated, "The prescription drug abuse problem is enormous and ... it seems to be getting worse. There's a substantial role that doctors have in this, and we have got to understand that we have a responsibility to our patients but also to society."

In an Associated Press article on the same issue, Dr. John Jenkins, FDA's chief of new drugs added that the FDA has issued a number of warnings over the past few years. He stated, "Despite these efforts, the rates of misuse and abuse, and of accidental overdose of opioids, have risen over the past decade."  The article reported that about 21 million prescriptions for opioids were dispensed in 2007.


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